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In this installment of the Latin Roots series, Raul Pacheco from the Grammy award-winning Latin band Ozomatli talks with WXPN’s David Dye about how politics influence music. Pacheco knows a lot about this topic, as Ozomatli have been a politically-driven band from their inception.
Melissa Etheridge Iconic folk-rock songstress Melissa Etheridge grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas. Etheridge has been making music since she first picked up a guitar at eight years-old and played in country groups throughout her teens in her home state of Kansas. Winner of two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female and an Academy Award for her song “I Need to Wake Up” from the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
credit Marina Abadjieff Sometimes known as the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Antibalas is exactly that: a large group of talented musicians playing rhythmic Afrobeat in perfect synchronous harmony. The New York-based band has come a long way from its Harlem roots but has never forgotten them.
Influential singer/songwriter Paul Simon’s 1986 Grammy award-winning album Graceland is one of the few records from that decade that made history.

A pioneer for muddying the waters between Jazz, Blues, Country, Soul, and Rock, Cassandra Wilson's greatest asset is her unmistakeable ardor.  Wilson's brilliant passion is reflected in her resoundingly beautiful voice; it is an untamed fire tempered only by over three decades of musical experience.

Brookyln-based ambient-folk duo Family Band is an unlikely collaboration between visual artist turned frontwoman Kim Krans and her husband, former heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin. Together, the couple craft beautifully dark, folk-influenced songs, which they fittingly describe as “heavy mellow.”

THEESatisfaction is the duo Stasia Irons "Stas" and Catherine Harris-White "Cat."

Somewhere between soul and rap lies a niche filled to overflowing by the dynamic voices of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White.  Together, rapper Stasia ("Stas") and vocalist Catherine ("Cat") comprise the avante-garde hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction. Based out of Seattle, Washington, THEESatisfaction is a relatively young band with deep roots in the Black community.


Muddying the waters between indie rock, country, and  down-south blues, Diamond Rugs was formed in Nashville, a coagulation of musical talent assembled by John McCauley of Deer Tick fame.  McCauley originally approached artists Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pe (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate), and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite) to collaborate on an album he was making, but his bandmates began adding songs of their own and Diamond Rugs became much more than just McCauley's pet project. 

Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is the epitome of a modern-day troubadour.  With his crooning voice and folksy acoustic tunes he is compared to a stripped-down Bob Dylan. His influences include Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Skip James, Sunhouse, and old bluegrass, as well as current music.
Matsson released his third full-length album under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, and has come alive playing solo - especially to live audiences.

Van Hunt uses his velvet-smooth voice to stunning effect in his rhymic, triste-laden melodies.  He is something like a cross between Thelonious Monk and Prince - throaty and suave, yet artistic, bold, and (notably) a little bit weird.  His alternative style is his strength, however. 

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